March 21st, 2004


Make your own tire sandals

I'm hard on shoes. It's not uncommon for me to go through half a dozen pairs of shoes, or more, each year. I maintain an active lifestyle, hiking, playing, camping, and working. Water wears out a shoe quicker than anything else. A few trips in and out of the creeks, puddles, and swamps, and they just come unglued.

If I do not happen to dissolve my shoes in water, then I wear out the soles on gravel. It has always amazed me that tire companies can manufacture a tire and warranty the tread for some 50,000 miles, yet I can wear out the sole on any ordinary shoe in less than a year. How come we cannot buy a shoe with a 50,000 mile warranty?

Really, I have never been quite satisfied with conventional shoes, and it's not just because I wear them out so easily. Mostly it is because I do a lot of camping, and ordinary shoes have a lot of drawbacks for this type of lifestyle. For one thing, I tend to rot my feet out each summer. Shoes are like incubators, holding in the dirt and sweat at warm temperatures, and culturing all kinds of fungus and bacteria. Walking through a little bit of water once or twice a day just compounds the problem, making it nearly impossible to dry out the shoes. My feet even rot when I take care of them, washing and drying my crusty socks each day.

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Escaping the job trap

"Sixty percent of families have so little savings that, if they lost their jobs, they could sustain their lifestyles for only about one month. The next richest twenty percent could only hold out for three and a half months."

--Source: Rosemary Brown & Cindy Mitlo. "It Pays to Plan." Co-op America's Financial Planning Handbook. 2001 Edition. Page 8.

Escaping the Job Trap
Its a Matter of Time, NOT Money!

By Thomas J. Elpel, author of Direct Pointing to Real Wealth

As a one who has successfully built a resource-efficient home and a green publishing business, people often ask me what they can do to make their own life situations more sustainable. That is a challenging question to answer, since sustainability issues tend to be tied to all aspects of the way we live and work; it can be difficult to make real change without changing everything. Creating a truly sustainable lifestyle can require a whole new approach to the way you make a living and achieve your Dreams. The key to success is in being able to escape the Job Trap.

I meet a lot of people with great Dreams. For many it is a Dream to own their own home without a mortgage. For others it is a Dream to start their own business, to be free from an existing job they are not satisfied with. Some people simply want to travel the world or be free to sit under a tree and play a guitar. Most people I meet have a million dollar idea they would love to bring to fruition, but neither the time nor the resources to make it happen. Other people have described to me their frustration with being trapped in a way of life they do not believe in and how they Dream of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Nearly everyone I meet is too busy treading water, trying to stay afloat among the bills and debt to even think about their Dreams anymore. Like a mantra, I hear people say it over and over again: "I know I could break free if I could just make a little more money." That idea is one of the grand illusions of the universe.

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